“Downgrade” Without Smith

February 28th, 2019

Keep him.

For one numeric-centered analyst, the choice is simple.

Andrew Potter types for FootballOutsiders.com, a stat-geek-heavy site Joe actually appreciates. The reason why is at the end of the day, FootballOutsiders tends to use logic and reason with their analysis, and doesn’t just parrot numbers because a calculator told them to.

So Potter was monitoring Bucs free agents and he believes AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht would be making a grave error if he did not find a way to keep free agent left tackle Donovan Smith, even though Potter is not in love with Smith.

While Donovan Smith is not an upper-tier left tackle, he is at least good enough that any other available option, whether a draftee or a free agent, is likely to be at best a short-term downgrade. That makes Smith a likely candidate for the franchise tag if a long-term contract is not agreed to.

This is just it. Smith is a middle-tier left tackle. Upper tier left tackles rarely if ever hit the free agency dinner bell.

Then you throw in how Smith has never missed a start — which is huge for NFL coaches — one can easily see how Smith is a franchise tag target, as Licht said yesterday.

25 Responses to ““Downgrade” Without Smith”

  1. joestang Says:

    He doesn’t deserve a big payday, average at best. Money would be better spent on free agents or draft picks.

  2. 813bucboi Says:

    cant create another hole….we already have the entire right side to worry about…..gotta keep him….


  3. Jecir Says:

    Peter Schrager from NFL.com said on his mock draft that Smith is not getting tag. Where is he getting this?

  4. Bruce Blahak Says:

    he’s a keeper regardless of anything…can’t create another hole in the team…tolerate until replaced..

  5. Buccernutter Says:

    This seems like common sense but we have the dumbest fan base in sports who hold on to plays where he got beat and try their best to convince others they know more than professional talent evaluators.

    Smith is a solid tackle with the ability to be good to great. I wasn’t very high on warhop and am much more optimistic with a REAL coaching staff.

    But the “smart fans” will advocate to cut him and bank on a rookie. Another hole for a 5-11 team. SMH

  6. Bucnjim Says:

    The love for mediocrity continues as well as our losing ways. These must be some really nice guys off the field. No one can tell me there isn’t someone better out there than what we have at several positions.

  7. Owlykat Says:

    Rediculous. There are College LTs that are quick enough to stop speed rushers and don’t stop drives with holding penalties and are not lazy and play to the whistle. And should a DE get past them on Jameis blind side will yell out to warn him to help avoid a strip sack. Lindy’s Draft issue when D. Smith was drafted recognized his problems in pass blocking and advised he should be moved to play Guard in the NFL but foolish Warhop tried for four years to make a LT out of him which was a major reason the Bucs have been in the basement of their Division ever since. Then Warhop to cover himself told the public and Smith the outright LIE that Smith was one of the Top Three LTs in the NFL. I trust BA to trust his own eyes in what he saw of D. Smith on tape and refuse to Franchise him and instruct Licht to trade him for a draft pick!

  8. Hodad Says:

    Try to sign Trent Brown instead.

  9. catcard202 Says:

    Under current CBA… I takes 3-4yrs of practice time now to = 1yr under old CBA….(IE… It takes multiple yrs to get today’s OL to play NFL FB.)

    D.Smith is just now rounding into his NFL prime…No sense to give-up on him now.

    I’m all for using the TAG if a long-term contract cannot be reached before deadline…But that should not stop Licht from identifying Dotson’s replacement in this Draft. (There’s multiple high end RT prospects to choose from. Taylor/Risner/Ford/Edwards/Howard)

  10. Not there yet Says:

    Why people think he can’t be replaced in the draft is odd. The year he was drafted we didn’t have a left tackle either and licht still waited until the second round. He ain’t giving first round talent so why give that kind of money. The great teams don’t say things like this and have a system to replace guys they can’t afford not over paying an average player

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    Everyone agrees that Smith’s tape shows an average at best LT.

    Yet it seems that most everyone is also saying – Bucs need to pay Donovan top 5 money – because there is no other choice….

    That line of thinking is total BS!

    There is a HUGE difference between the pay of a top LT – and the pay range of the 16th>20th best LTs – which is exactly where Donovan Smith’s play and grades rank him.

    Top LTs make $13>$16M.

    LTs in the 16>20 range at their position make $6>$9M.

    Reports are that Smith is seeking a long term deal worth $13M per year – which would place him as the 6th highest paid LT in the league.

    The franchise tag would pay him around $15M in 2019.

    NO WAY is this player worth anywhere near that amount.

    Bucs need to let some other team grossly overpay Donovan Smith – and will net a 2020 3rd round compensatory pick by letting him go in free agency.

    Draft an OT either in the first round – or with the high 2nd rd pick (which is exactly where Smith who played pretty decently as a rookie was drafted) – and let Wester, Liedtke and the rookie fight it out for the starting spot.

    Betcha the running game would improve immediately…..

  12. Bucnjim Says:

    The definition of insanity is falling in love with a player who couldn’t/wouldn’t perform during his contract year. If the effort wasn’t there last year what do you think it’s going to be like this year?

  13. Owlykat Says:

    D. Smith is NOT just now rounding into a NFL LT! In a contract year he played worse than he did as a rookie. He is digressing—not progressing and we would be foolish to reward him with $14 million that we badly need to hire Honey Badger and Claiborne to provide leadership to our young players and shore up our defensive back end! This Franchise Decision is crucial to BA’s success this year. If he watches Liedtke’s outplaying Smith at LT in the two Preseason Games this year that Liedtke started he will realize he doesn’t have to worry about how long it takes to bring a first round LT this year up to NFL speed because if he keeps Liedtke he can play that position better than Smith and we can save $14 million to fix our defense!

  14. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    According to Arians, it takes 3-4 years to develop a tackle. I would like to see what Arians can do for Smith, the rest of the Oline and our CBs.

  15. gotbbucs Says:

    Get a real life guard to pair with Marpet and move on with life.

  16. Buccernutter Says:

    What’s really odd is how people cannot comprehend that yes he can be replaced in the draft but said player will take time to develop. NO rookie is going to come in day one and play better than Smith. We are not rebuilding.

    You guys seem to know so much for being faceless. We all agree he could be better but your line of thinking is setting us back years by relying on the draft. Dude is average with a high ceiling and THAT is what we all agree on including the coaching staff.

    Keep whining though. You’re not gonna be happy with the results.

  17. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Owlycat- D Smith is digressing, bwahahahaha. I about choked on my coffee there..
    Where do you get this idea Liedtke is better? Say it 1000 times but it doesn’t make it true.
    Claiborne is going to provide leadership? That dude is softer than baby food, he is no leader. Honey Badger on the other hand… yes please.

    What is so hard to understand? There is no upgrade for Smith THIS season, so franchise him and draft his replacement and let him develop for a year on the right.

  18. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    No way in hell you re-sign this dude or franchise him for that matter.

  19. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Sign (FA)
    • Jamon Brown (Age:25) OG Louisville 6′ 6″ 340

    • Elgton Jenkins C/G Mississippi State 6′ 4″ 304
    • Tytus Howard OT Alabama State 6′ 6″ 310
    • Bobby Evans* OT Oklahoma 6′ 4″ 312
    Honorable Mention: Isaiah Prince, Michael Jordan

    Potential Depth Chart
    LT Leonard Wester | *Bobby Evans
    LG Ali Marpet | Michael Liedtke
    OC Ryan Jensen | *Elgton Jenkins
    RG Jamon Brown | Elgton Jenkins
    LT Demar Dotson | *Tytus Howard

    Focus most of you assets on retooling this defense.

  20. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Eventually, Licht will stop letting these bums – pimp the sh!t out him.

  21. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    I’m with Hodad. With the Smith money, sign Trent Brown. I believe he is a better left tackle.

  22. SOEbuc Says:

    I honestly think Leidtke and Wester are on the same level as average Smith. They picked up a very bad OG in Leidtke and he really looked like he found his true spot when they switched him to LT. And now they are going to throw probably $40 million/ 5 years at Smith in large part is because he hasn’t missed a game. Really not just saying this because I don’t want this deal to happen, but Smith comes off to me as one of those guys that is going to get fatter and lazier after they get their money. Need to spend that money on a RT in FA (JaWuan James- Dolphins).

    Sending a letter to the Glazers and Licht when Smith comes in and breaks his leg on the first play of the first game then Leidtke kills it the rest of the season: “Told you so.”

  23. Tbbucs3 Says:

    The one thing that’s great about Donovan Smith is his avalibility and experience. I think he’s started every game that he’s been a Buc. So if you do re sign him you don’t have to worry about him being on and off IR, which is a huge problem in the NFL.

    You can’t just rule him out especially if there’s no replacement plan. He has potential to be a solid rock in pass protection for JW and has show flashes. His feet are improving as well. I’m keeping him for the right price.

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    If you can get a deal done for say $12-13m, then go ahead and sign him up long term. If you can’t, then franchise him and see how this next year with Arians goes. This seems like a pretty simple puzzle to solve. Personally I hope they get something longterm done as Smith is a solid LT, and you can’t have superstars everywhere.

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    All you people talking about Trent Brown need to go read what Pats fans think about the guy. According to them he’s worse than Smith, and there zero doubt he’s received better coaching.